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Publication Account

Date 1982

Event ID 1017826

Category Descriptive Accounts

Type Publication Account


The exact age of the castle of Dingwall is unknown, although along with Dumbarton Castle it was one of two Scottish royal strongholds marked on Matthew Paris' map of 1259 (MacDonald, n.d., 47). It was first held for the crown by the Mormaer of Ross and in 1291 it was held by William of Braytoft who delivered the fortress to John Baliol on Edward l's orders. After the reconciliation of Robert I with William, fourth earl of Ross, Dingwall Castle became the seat of that family until their forfeiture in 1476 (MacDonald, n.d.,47). James IV on a number of visits to Tain stayed in Dingwall Castle and the crown continued to appoint keepers until 1584 when James VI granted it to Sir Andrew Keith who was subsequently created Lord Dingwall (MacDonald, n.d.,47). By 180ls the castle was in ruins and the present castle was erected in 1820 by a naval man who had served in the Napoleonic wars (MacDonald, n.d.,49).

Only fragmentary remains survive of the royal castle of Dingwall in the grounds of the present castle which was largely erected on the site of the former. The castle stood close to the shore on about half an acre of ground and was surrounded by water except along the line of the present Castle Street. A fosse which surrounded it could be traced as late as 1841 (NSA, 1841, 221). The remains of the royal castle primarily consist of one narrow underground vault and two masses of masonry above ground. One of the corner towers was converted into a dovecot by Andrew, Bishop of Caithness, keeper of the castle between 1507-1526 a.d. and still exists as one of the ruined fragments (Ordnance Survey, Record Cards, NH 55 NE 4).

Information from ‘Historic Dingwall: The Archaeological Implications of Development’ (1982).

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